Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Published: July 28, 2009
If Nike Roach had his way, every American who is old enough would own a business.
"I don't care if you've got a job or not," he said recently at Sixth
Sense Health and Wellness Center in Winston-Salem as soft music played
in the background, providing a relaxing ambiance. "You should have a
business yourself. I think every American should have a business."
He already has an answer for people who might say they don't have any money to open shop.
"R.J. Reynolds came to Winston-Salem on the back of a horse with a great idea and little money," he said.
Roach's aunt and uncle, Clinton and Claudette Pough, lent him enough
money to open Sixth Sense and he believes that there is money out there
for other entrepreneurs. His center offers massage therapy,
acupuncture, nutrition counseling, herbology and fitness training.
"If you have the desire, you will find the money," he said.
Roach is a big supporter of the Greater Winston-Salem Chamber of
Commerce and received the chamber's Ambassador of the Year award in
Ambassadors are chamber volunteers who serve as a communication link
between the chamber and its members. Ambassadors help in the chamber's
efforts to add and retain members. They support the organization by
attending such activities as company grand openings and by serving on
Roach (whose first name is pronounced "nee-kay") likes helping out
with the chamber's various networking activities but his favorite role
as an ambassador is going to grand openings.
"I love the grand openings because the grand opening is an individual company's time to shine," he said.
He finds joy in just showing up to support a fellow chamber member,
sometimes holding the ceremonial ribbon, but always seeing promise in a
"It's like a rebirth and a new commitment," he said with a big smile.
Rodessa Mitchell, the chamber's executive vice president of
education and membership, said that everybody at the chamber knows
"He is one of our most visible and approachable members and has been
so helpful in so many ways, especially helping new members feel
welcome," she said. "Nike has a strong desire to help other people
succeed -- which helps his own business as well. He really is an anchor
of the Ambassador program and has provided a model for others to
Even with all the recent job losses in the Triad because of the
economy, Roach sees the current business environment as a way for
people to reinvent themselves.
"It's a great time for you to take the skills that you've learned in
administration or leadership and hone them into doing your own
business," he said.
He said that the chamber is a great resource for small businesses.
"A lot of business owners have used the chamber for nothing more
than a leverage to get into some office doors that were otherwise
fairly closed to them or meet people at a business seminar," Roach said.
Roach said that Winston-Salem is a great place to do business
because it has a lot of other resources for business owners, including
the Forsyth Tech Small Business Center and Goodwill Industries of
Northwest North Carolina Inc.
Roach grew up in Beaufort, S.C. He moved to Charlotte in 1986, where he went to high school.
He started his first business, a lawn-care operation, at the age of
14. His mother, Yeye Fini, was his first investor. She gave him $20 to
buy a used lawn mower.
After high school, Roach joined the Army Medical Corps, serving during the first Gulf War.
His current career was influenced by his mother, who had always been
a proponent of natural health, but he really became interested in
massage therapy while he was in the military.
When he returned home, he went to college. In 1997, while a student
at Winston-Salem State University, he opened Sixth Sense Massage and
Therapy with Lee Cockerham. The business partners went their separate
ways in 2001 and Roach changed the name of his business. He married two
Today, his wife, Nicola, who is also a massage therapist, handles
most of the company's administrative duties while he takes care of the
marketing side of the business.
Roach credits her for the company's growth. He declined to give
sales figures but said that his business increased 20 percent in 2008
"She's a wonderful mother, but as a business partner, she's a whiz," he said.
For Nicola Roach, it's hard to find the right word to describe her husband.
"‘On fire,' maybe," she said with a laugh. "That's two words."
She calls him a people person.
"He loves to meet people and learn more about what their interests
are and things like that," she said. "He's always trying to help other
people promote themselves and their businesses. He's that type of
"He never really is thinking, ‘What's in it for Nike.'"
¦ Fran Daniel can be reached at 727-7366 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• AGE: 38.
• HAILS FROM: Beaufort, S.C.
• EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in exercise sciences
from Winston-Salem State University and a master's degree in sports
studies from High Point University.
• EXPERIENCE: He was a medical specialist with the
Army Medical Corps during the Persian Gulf War from 1989 to 1993. He
was an after-school teacher at Summit School in Winston-Salem from 1995
to 2000. He and his wife own Sixth Sense Health and Wellness Center at
1012 Brookstown Ave. in Winston-Salem. They also operate Myeniola.net, a discount-travel company.
• FAMILY: Wife, Nicola "Nikki" Roach, and two sons.
• QUOTE: "I don't care if you've got a job or not. You
should have a business yourself. I think every American should have a